Summer picnics are a wonderful way to while away an afternoon. And when you’re planning a picnic, it’s important to keep it simple, says food consultant and cookbook author Trish Magwood.
“We all want a little bit of a break so we don’t want to slave in the kitchen. We want to do things that are quick and easy for us with low stress.”
Here are tips:
Put simple-to-eat items on the menu that you can prepare ahead. For example, gourmet sandwiches and a salad that travels well. Drinks, snacks and that’s all you need.
Have appropriate containers for food. “A good soft cooler is key,” says Magwood, “so you’re not having to lug around a big heavy cooler.”
Think refreshing finger food when you plan snacks. For example, cut up cucumber and celery and bring a store-bought or homemade dip. And everyone loves cut-up watermelon.
Keep any perishable foods cold or below 4 C, recommends the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. If possible, refrigerate or freeze food the day before you pack it.
Pack lemonade crystals and mix them with water in a thermos when you get to where you’re going.
Instead of carrying pop-up chairs, just bring a few blankets. “I use one for sitting on,” says Magwood, “and the other for a ground buffet.”
A picnic is all about food … and activities the whole group can enjoy, says Murray Seward, president of Vancouver-based Canadian Outback Adventures and Events, which organizes summer picnics for companies.
It’s all about bringing the kid out in everyone, says Seward. Be sure to plan a game of baseball, catch, or old-style sack races. Or consider something different such as Jenga, chess with an inflatable chess board, or create your own obstacle course with stations equipped with water pistols and other fun toys.